Assemblyman Kevin Mullin introduced legislation Monday to overhaul California’s system for recounting votes in tightly contested statewide elections, claiming the June primary in the state controller’s race highlighted flaws in the current format. The bill would require the state to pay for a full recount in any election involving a statewide office or ballot measure when the margin of victory is one tenth of 1 percent or less. The law presently allows candidates to recount the tallies of individual counties as long as their campaigns foot the bill. Mullin, D-South San Francisco, introduced similar legislation this summer, but the bill stalled. The new bill, AB 44, would also call for automatic recounts in presidential elections.
“We have overwhelming indications that the current system is flawed,” Mullin said in a statement, “and potentially favors the candidate with the most money to pay for it.”
Former Democrat Assemblyman John Perez petitioned for a recount in 15 counties after he fell 481 votes short of Betty Yee for second place in the June 3 primary. He called off the recount after a week of tallying votes. Yee, a Democrat, went on to defeat Republican Ashley Swearengin in the November general election.